When you attend your networking meeting, where do you sit?
Have you noticed that many of us tend to sit in the same seat each week or with the same people? There is still no substitute for face-to-face connections at meetings. Do not just stick with the people you know. Since networking is about making new relationships… reach out. Don’t fall into the trap of sticking together with people you already know. Sit where you know no one, you have more to gain.
If you need an introduction to a new member or someone you don’t know, talk to the leader of the group and ask for what you want. It’s important to un-clique. It may be comfortable to stick with known friends at networking events, but challenge yourself to meet new people and you may be rewarded with a new friend, mentor or future referee.
Could we be limiting our ability to get better acquainted with other members as well as guests? Perhaps it’s time to carefully pick a seat next to someone new! Before you attend your next meeting, show up early and consciously decide to sit with someone new. You’ll get more out of the meetings. Make it your mission to move around the room and sit next to someone different every week. Your friends are already your friends. It’s time to make some new ones.
Remain standing until the meeting is about to begin. Make the first move. When someone you do not know or a guest walks into your meeting and everyone is sitting down, they usually feel very uncomfortable and unwelcomed. You’ll be helping them break the ice and begin a conversation. Be the host. Welcome them and sit next to them.
Breaking the ice can be as simple as commenting on the venue, someone else’s 30-second connection (elevator speech), the program or the food; asking people where they’ve traveled from or whether they’ve been to the event or place before; or expressing an interest in why they are attending.
When they give their 30-second connection really listen. Ask questions for clarification. Ask open-ended questions. These are questions that ask who, what, where, when and how – as opposed to questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Use these encounters to your fullest advantage. Discover what areas where they may need help. Always get a business card from them and follow-up before the next meeting. Stay in touch with your new connections. Look for a business lead to specifically give them at the next meeting.
How many of you would be willing to sit in a new seat next week, next to someone you haven’t sat with before?
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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